CULVER CITY, CA — Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man 2 marks not only the return of the famed superhero but also the culmination of a winning collaboration between visual effects, sound and post production teams from Sony Pictures Entertainment (www.sonypictures.com).
Sony Pictures Imageworks crafted over 1,000 visual effects shots for the film and Sony Pictures Post Production provided sound, marking its first project in the Dolby Atmos format. Additionally, Colorworks performed film scanning, conforming and color grading, all in 4K.
“Our groups have developed a close, creative partnership, aided by remarkable new technologies that allowed them to work across disciplines as one team,” says Randy Lake, executive VP and GM, digital production services. “The results are clearly evident in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which established new standards for technical innovation.”
Working under the supervision of senior visual effects supervisor Jerome Chen, Sony Pictures Imageworks created a variety of visual effects that blend seamlessly with live-action stunts and performances. Artists created three new villains — Electro, Rhino and Goblin — and developed fully-digital CG environments representing New York’s Times Square, Manhattan skyscrapers, a next generation hydroelectric plant and an art deco-era clock tower, among many other one-off effects seen throughout the film.
The film’s sound team was led by sound supervisors/designers Addison Teague and Eric Norris, and re-recording mixers Paul Massey and David Giammarco. Working in the newly-renovated William Holden Theater on the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot, Massey and Giammarco mixed the soundtrack natively in Dolby Atmos and finished in Atmos, Auro 11.1 by Barco and 5.1 formats. At Colorworks, film dailies — amounting to more than 1.5 million feet of 35mm film — were scanned to the 4K digital format prior to editorial using DFT’s Scanity high speed film scanner. The film later returned to Colorworks for conforming (a combination of Autodesk Flame and Filmlight Baselight systems), final color grading (Baselight in 4K) and mastering in 2D and stereoscopic 3D (Baselight in 2K).
Collaboration between the teams was facilitated by Sony Pictures Entertainment’s production backbone, the studio’s own shared storage environment, made up of a combination of disk and tape technologies from several manufacturers. Original production elements, along with associated metadata — cumulatively amounting to more than 2.4 PBs — were stored on the backbone’s shared-storage environment, where it was accessible to sound and picture editors, visual effects artists and others, as needed and in appropriate file formats. The backbone also simplified delivery of elements to external visual effects vendors, who were able to access the backbone through secure, high-speed connections.
“Scanning all of the original film elements at 4K allowed us to work at the highest quality and implement a true digital workflow to the production,” explains Bill Baggelaar, senior VP of technology for Colorworks. “That saved significant time. The backbone not only provided access to data, it also tracked progress. If an editor or a visual effects artist made a change, it was quickly available to all the other members of the team, increasingly important for quick turn around on a dynamic film like The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is currently in theaters worldwide.